Spanking will probably work — for now

Published on November 22, 2019


There has been a generational shift where today’s parents are much less likely to use traditional methods of disciplining their children. Most of our new generation parents who have kids aged 5 years and younger, don’t prefer spanking as a course to correct behaviour. However, there are a few who try to impose old-fashioned discipline techniques when kids frequently misbehave. But trust us, it is only a temporary resolution.

Why spanking doesn’t work?

  • Activates fear centres in the brain
  • Hitting triggers fight/flight/freeze response
  • Makes children more aggressive. Normalizes aggression for problem-solving
  • Promotes mental health issues from childhood to adulthood and they misbehave interferes with secure attachment
  • Children cannot discriminate between spanking and physical abuse
  • Confusing for the child as the parent is both comforting and causing fear
  • The fear of punishment fosters lying in children. To avoid being spanked they hide/lie or resort to greater misconduct.
  • They feel depressed and devalued

How to make it work without spanking?

  • Practice regulating actions in everyday routines
  • Build a positive, loving and supportive relationship with your child such that he/she is able to talk about feelings and emotions
  • Learn anger management and don’t make spanking as an outcome of your frustration
  • Be a positive role model. Use your words and not your body language to express when you’re unhappy with something
  • Know that spanking doesn’t work as well as positive reinforcement to increase good behaviour
  • Time outs work well for children. You can consider temporarily removing their favourite activities – playing outside with friends or watching a cartoon show

Having said all of the above, keep in mind that your goal is to teach the child to regulate his/her own behaviour. When you opt for spanking/hitting, you are teaching that conflict can be resolved with aggression. So, let’s just teach them better ways of resolution. 

                                                                                                                                                           Author: Afrouz Sania 

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